2021 – The Others
The Elect Lady - 2
Before I get cranked up this morning, I have two clarifications I need to make from last week’s sermon.
1) I did not mention the book of Revelation is also considered Johannine literature. I got wrapped up in the sequence of Regular John… 1 John… 2 John. It slipped my mind that Revelation is also written by John. This reinforces my point last week that we have to be open… that we, all, can make mistakes.
2) I was misunderstood when I said IMHO. Some heard I am Joe. Others heard… I’m a joke. Everyone was expecting me to say something with words. You didn’t understand when I used letters. This also illustrates another point I made… You can’t see what you can’t see. Or, you can’t hear what you can’t hear.
Last week, I promised you we would learn the difference in Core-doctrines and Not-Core-doctrines. It is important that we process them differently. In not-core-doctrines I’m a joke… I mean IMHO. Very humble… but not afraid to make our best guess.
In Core-doctrines we have more certainty. The old guy, John pleads with Kyria to stay solid in the core-doctrine of the incarnation!
2 John verses 7-9 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
--I hear worry in John’s voice.
--I hear concern for this precious church.
--I hear fear for Kryia and her kids.
--I hear a scary warning… deceivers; antichrist; watch yourselves; don’t lose your full reward; keep abiding in God… this teaching has the Father and he Son.
--The incarnation is a core-doctrine.
I want to accomplish two things in this sermon…
1) Reaffirm our belief in the incarnation of Jesus in the flesh. Know for sure, no joking… no IMHO…
2) Think about how you know a teaching is core-doctrine.
When discussing the Incarnation, I have to begin in Regular John chapter 1…
John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Jesus was God when the world was created. Creation was by him and for Him. Christ spoke light into existence… bam! …and Jesus brought His light into the darkness of this world!
John 1:6-11 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
John, the baptizer, witnessed the incarnation of his cousin Jesus. Jesus was in the flesh that is why the world did not see him. They could not see what they could not see.
John 1:12-14 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
--The pre-incarnate Word became flesh - sarx. It is body. It is flesh and bones. It is real. It is touchable.
--The word dwelt is “tabernacled”. The Word lived in the tabernacle of the body. But, held onto His identity as God.
--We saw the glory. That glory looks like grace and truth! Glory shines in grace. Glory is radiant with truth. (The theme of 2 John… love and truth. Next week.)
Let’s pick up the same point from other writers of the New Testament…
Luke 1:26-35 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy- the Son of God.
Mary was asked if she would host God. She was then overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. She became pregnant with the God Most High! A real, flesh and blood, baby in her womb.
Matthew continues the story…
Matthew 1:18-23 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a (real flesh and blood baby) son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us).
Mary was pregnant. As she began to show… Joseph had a problem. Joseph learned that she was conceived of the Holy Spirit. Jesus came to us, to be one of us, to be God with us… Immanuel!
John, Luke, Matthew all speak to Jesus being born with flesh of blood as a human!
Paul certainly agrees…
Philippians 2:5-11 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, (He did not hold onto his godness) but made himself nothing, (the difference in God and us is like going to nothingness) taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus did not hold onto his God stuff. He took on our shape; our form, our being. He became human… in order to die on the cross. So, that, when he returned to the throne in his resurrected touchable form, he would rule over every person who has ever lived on earth!
One more. I have to do Hebrews…
Hebrews 2:9-15 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, "I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation. I will sing your praise." And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again, "Behold, I and the children God has given me." Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
Jesus became flesh and blood to live his perfect life for everyone. So, he will be triumphant over the devil. He will one deliver all who have been terrorized by death!
John, Luke, Matthew, Paul, the writer of Hebrews… all emphatically affirm the incarnation of Jesus as human! Bam… Show me your thumbs!
Now let’s get to the second point of the sermon. Here is how we understand which doctrines are core…
How to know a core-doctrine… It contains… most of these principles.
1) Core doctrines are the heart of Christianity. It is important we acknowledge there is a small set of doctrines which define a Christian. Not many. They are at the heart of what we believe. These core doctrines radiate into many other believes. They are central. God becoming human is at the heart of who we are.
2) For it to be a core-doctrine it is repeated in Scripture. We have seen how the Incarnation is repeatedly reaffirmed across the New Testament. Five of the NT writers firmly attest to the Incarnation.
3) The New Testament needs to affirm it is a core with words such as we read in…
2 John 1:9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
There are words which state the essential nature of the doctrine.
4) Core doctrines are not behaviors. Core doctrines result in behaviors. But they are not things we do or don’t do. Because the Word was incarnate… we understand that our bodies are important… misuse or sexual immorality or murder… is wrong. Behavior is a result of the core-doctrine.
5) Core doctrines are not cultural stuff. Core-doctrines transcend time. They transcend geography. They transcend cultural traditions. Core-doctrines are not transitory. The incarnation is big picture across time, place and culture.
As I said, these are the general principles. Perhaps, not all core doctrines meet all five of these criteria. The New Testament is not written as systematic theology, but addresses real problems in real time. So, these are general characteristics of core doctrines.
Let’s take a couple of other examples…
--God is love…
1) It is at the heart of all other beliefs. It is the love created the universe and will redeem it!
2) It is repeated… the steadfast love of LORD never fails.
3) It has words of warning…
1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
4) It creates behavior… I love because God first loved me. I do not steal because God is love.
5) It cuts across time and place and culture.
God is love… core doctrine.
--Worship on Sunday.
1) It is important to us. We are connected to it. Not the heart leading to other beliefs.
2) It is only mentioned once… maybe as an exception.
Acts 20:7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread…
3) No words of warning against it. “You have to meet every Sunday or you are wrong.”
4) It is a behavior that results from the Resurrection of Jesus, which is a core doctrine.
5) Not across time… Examples of worshipping every day in the temple… or on Sabbath.
Important… Yes… Core… no.
It would be fun to list lots of other doctrines to see. But, let’s wrap this up by returning to the Incarnation.
This is what it means to be a Christian…
Jesus came to this earth as one of us in order to …
--Teach us how-to live-in the light of glory.
--Bring grace and truth to everyone.
--Cover our sin with his death.
--Jesus gave up the glories of heaven for the glory of defeating death.
--His ascension back to the throne proclaims him LORD!
We are followers of the Incarnate word!
May 16, 2021
Los Alamos Church of Christ
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